Monday, March 26, 2012

Action Alert - a review

I am married to a self-admitted technology junkie. He has always loved technology and has been involved with computers since he was a teenager (and that was a LONG time ago). He had and worked on home PC's before many people knew what they did. I remember thinking he was "so cool" because he had a home computer. All I had was a typewriter, and later a really big word-processor for college. Our parents didn't have to worry about internet dangers or even know what the internet was! We, on the other hand, have 4 desktop computers, 1 laptop computer and an iPad, as well as an iPhone and a Blackberry. All of these devices can give our children access to the internet.

Having all these devices does not mean that our children have unlimited access to technology, because they most definitely do NOT. However, I know there will be a time when they have more access and we will need to be more careful.

Action Alert is a downloadable program that helps you set up a "kid-safe" computer in just a matter of minutes. It is fully customizable to the amount of security you want/need for your particular situation.

There are 2 versions of Action Alert. The completely FREE version shows you how dedicated Action Alert is to the safety of our children.

The Free Version allows you access to all of the above safety tools. The paid Full Version, which is very reasonably priced at $29.99 allows you to set up multiple-user profiles on one PC as well as complete social network monitoring.

I really like the idea of ACCESS CONTROL. Being able to shut-down the PC remotely from your phone is a wonderful feature. I can see this being very useful as my children get older and are left home alone.

The ACTIVITY NOTIFICATION ALERTS will alert you via text or email that your child has typed in an inappropriate word. I think this is a good idea and can be used as an accountability tool for your older teens. However, for us, we have young kids who might accidentally type in a word that pulls up inappropriate content. I don't want them to see any of that at all! This is a great tool for accountability, as is the ACTIVITY VIDEO RECORDING. But, in my opinion, it's not what I need to protect my young, naive children from some of the internet dangers that are out there.

The TIME ALLOWANCE is another great feature that would work well for older tweens or teens who are given more freedom on the computer. My kids are typically given a set program to play for a set amount of time, or a set number of lessons/activities. I can see this being a great tool when the kids are older and possibly left home alone a little more often. This would be a great program to use if you have older kids out of school during the summer.

The SITE BLOCKING blocks sites that you list, or allows sites that you list. I didn't have any specific sites that they could not go to, so this was a little trickier for us to use. At first I had it set up to go to the sites I know they use. But, when Paul does research I don't know what site he might need to go to. This is when the CONTENT FILTERING would come in handy. However, you have to search from their search engine. It is easily maneuvered around by going to any other search engine. Of course, you have the accountability which I discussed above. It's just not quite as secure as I want for my kids at their young ages. Again, it would be great for older kids.

Action Alert has won several awards. They have also been featured on the Today Show.

I can definitely see the benefits of Action Alert. Plus, most of the features are free, so you can see how you like it. And if you need multiple user protection the $29.99 fee is extremely reasonable to protect your kids and give them accountability for what they are doing online.

You can see what other TOS Crew Members thought at the TOS Crew Blog.

Disclosure: I was given the Full Version of this product for free in exchange for my review. There was no other compensation given for this review. All opinions stated here are my own, honest opinions.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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